Ok, sorry to necro this, but it's the general dumping ground for Skyrim views, and I promised in another thread that I'd provide my opinion. It's almost certainly all been said before but I can't be bothered to read 20 pages of posts, if this sounds like you've heard it before, feel free to ignore me.
My opinion: Skyrim is average at best. I will base this argument on the things that Skyrim provides as I see it. I fully expect to get responses as to other things that it offers, however please explain why these things are above average compared to other titles.
This is apparently improved from Oblivion, though apart from tinkering with the damage amounts, and speed I don't really see how. I went through the entire game using Power attack, Power attack, Restoration, Power attack etc. Perhaps there are other strategies, but they didn't jump out. Certainly distance isn't one of them, as you start backing off, but the strike hits you anyway despite being about 4 metres away.
There are so many better examples of a combat system, that could easily be integrated into an Elder scrolls game. Severance: Blade of darkness springs to mind. That game is really old, but still puts Skyrim to shame for a combat system. Die By The Sword was a flawed system, but was at least trying something more than the mundane.
I don't see how skyrim combat can be described as anything above average when it is as involved as pressing a button either for a long time, or a short time. There may be some nuances, but it really doesn't distinguish itself in this regard. They could have included dodging, counter attacking, or just more options.
So if you want a game with good combat, Skyrim is unfortunatey just average.
The bar here has been set pretty high by Thief, and so Skyrim has quite happily limbo'd it. You have a stealth button, and people may or may not see you because of it. No indication as to how visible or noisy you are being, and I really couldn't see any strategy towards staying hidden. Most encounters involved crossing a huge highly lit area, and if you did manage to creep up on one person, the act of 'taking them out' would alert every one else. It was the same in Oblivion, but they've really had time to sort this out. I can't believe anyone could describe this implementation of stealth as anything beyond average.
No spell making now, just a few really obvious spells. They take ages to train, are basically just a damage or heal effect, and don't even look that good. You can summon an atronach, freeze someone, or make a light, but to be honest I think magic is a step back from Oblivion, and probably on a par with Daggerfall. I wouldn't even class this implementation of magic as average.
Better implementations: All other modern roleplaying games, and most older ones.
Such a general word. I'm told London has so much atmosphere, but I don't enjoy breathing it. Skyrim on the other hand initially impresses in this regard. It's huge, it has incredibly detailed graphics, and it generally looks great. That doesn't take long to wear off. Perhaps this is because we're spoiled by all the great looking games out there, but I think I found as much mood in Terraria as Skyrim. There are randomly placed wolves, bears and cats that will attack you, the odd bandit, perhaps a spriggan. That's about it, you walk around in bad weather, with people saying the same things to you. It's not bad, in fact in this respect I'd say it was above average, but after a few hours you just walk past all those people before they've finished speaking.
The more specific cases of 'involvement' such as characters on quests etc. I unfortunately suffered a bug where character speech was incredibly low volume, which didn't help. However even with the volume up massively it didn't seem that involved. Some guy saying "yeah, I used to be a priest for the evil guys, but now I'm a good guy, lets go kill some people". There was nothing to stand out in the whole immersive world thing. I was completely emmersed (is that a word, I'm coining it if not).
There are only fetch quests. Nothing else. No big decisions, no investigation, it is simply go to this place, kill the people there, collect item, return it. It is less sophisticated than World of Warcraft. Way below average.
I think that will do for now. I would ask people (as I put a fair bit of time into Skyrim, and would like to get something out of it). What is above average about it? Where would you say, "Oh if you want a good implementation of ??? then look at how skyrim did it"?